Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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The 65+ Demographic and Employment

As more and more of the population enters the 65+ demographic, more jobs will become available due to the older generation retiring, right? Who will fill these vacancies?

The Baby-Boomer cohort, youngest is 46 and oldest is now 66 I believe.
The soon-to-be reality in Canada and the U.S. is the 65+ demographic will be larger than the under 15 one. Who says everyone age 65+ wants to retire? Besides the ‘new’ retirement age will soon be 67+ to receive full benefits. As for mature workers-it makes sense to me to allow those that choose to continue working to do so, to mentor the younger workers and to even job share with the younger workers with children. The other problem: trade jobs do not have workers to fill the gaps-the younger generations are highly educated and not entering trade work like electrician, plumbing, general contractor, etc…., so here is an opportunity for a younger worker to be trained by an older worker and there needs to be incentive for younger generations to choose the field(s) over business, retail, management, medical fields, psychology, etc. Perhaps this is where both local and federal governments step in with incentives along with schools.

The “Aging In America Project” – looks great. The video captured how we have to start thinking and planning differently.  We need a vision of how our society could be, as well as legislative changes. Employers need to understand the benefits of having older workers (such as mentoring/job sharing mentioned above) – and also have excellent skills in managing performance if someone stays past their “used by” date. Mature workers may need to learn/focus on being more creative and note the gaps in their workplaces and communities and offer their experience/skills. Education, bringing awareness to the topic, continuing to post discussions related to this topic, talking with friends, emailing or writing the ‘powers that be’ and change will happen. Another option is to allow those of retirement age to semi-retire and collect part of their government pension while still working, which allows them to continue to pay into the system.

A book worth looking at is by David K. Foot and Daniel Stoffman, “Boom, Bust and Echo.” Printed in 1996, but with good practical solutions to the Baby-Boomers entering the typical retirement age.

The other side to this issue is even as the national unemployment rate lingers above 8 percent — 12.5 million people — tens of thousands of jobs are going unfilled as employers contend that they can’t find qualified candidates. Applicants need more education, more skills and more experience. What I hear often from the younger generation is, how do I get experience if no one will hire me? My internships should count as experience. How can I be over-qualified if I just graduated from college/university?

Quite the dilemma and solutions are needed sooner rather than later.


Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW – SJS Staff Writer in Canada


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